HUMAN RESOURCES

 

APPOINTING AUTHORITIES

The Federal government has a diverse group of position types, established to provide public service. These position and appointment types include but are not limited to: Presidential appointees, the Competitive Service, the excepted service, Highly Qualified Experts/Senior Mentors, and Senior Executive Service.

Individuals holding a valid DoD Common Access Card can obtain list of human resources points of contact and website information at https://my.whs.mil/?DID=1444

Originally, all Federal personnel were appointed noncompetitively, which led to a widespread practice that based hiring on political considerations. However, with the establishment of the competitive service in 1883, applicants are required to compete for many federal positions. Over time, both the competitive and excepted services have evolved significantly and both provide different and complementary ways to acquire personnel. Today, a number of human capital management tools and flexibilities are available to assist agencies in their recruitment and hiring processes. While recognizing the need for flexibility in hiring, the Federal Government also seeks to assure that appointments are based on merit.


Federal agencies may be headed by individuals who are PAS. Additionally, the agencies may appoint individuals to SES positions through a competitive process, or make non-career or political SES appointments without competition (please see the section “Political Positions”).


THE COMPETITIVE SERVICE

The competitive service includes all civilian positions in the Federal Government that are not specifically “excepted” from the civil service laws by statute, the President, or the OPM, and are not included in the SES. The competitive service hiring approach is the normal entry route into the civil service for most personnel. Historically, most Federal positions are in the competitive service.

The competitive service consists of all civil service positions in the Executive Branch, except for:  

  • Positions that are specifically excepted from the competitive service by or under statute.

  • Positions to which appointments are made by Presidential nomination for confirmation by the Senate.

  • Positions in the Senior Executive Service.

For most positions, applicants apply directly to the hiring agency or relevant component. Federal employers use a variety of assessment tools in evaluating applicants and conducting hiring. The preliminary process includes notifying the public that the Government will accept applications for a job; rating applications against minimum qualification standards; in some cases, giving applicants a written test; and assessing applicants’ relative competencies or knowledge, skills, and abilities against job-related criteria to identify the most qualified applicants. Once the preliminary process is completed, the most qualified applicants are referred to a selecting official for consideration, possible interview, and selection. These steps are intended to assure compliance with merit systems principles.


THE EXCEPTED SERVICE

The excepted service includes all positions in the executive branch that have been excepted from the competitive service by statute, the President, or OPM. Within the basic requirements prescribed by law or regulation, each agency develops its own hiring system which establishes the evaluation criteria used in filling these excepted positions.


The following appointments can be made in the excepted service:

  • Schedule A positions are those for which it is not practicable to apply the qualification standards and requirements used in the competitive civil service system to, and which are not of a confidential or policy-determining nature. Attorney positions are usually Schedule A.

  • Schedule B positions are those for which it is not practicable to hold open competitive examinations, and the positions are not of a confidential or policy-determining nature. Persons appointed to Schedule B positions must meet OPM qualification standards for the position. Students in student employment programs are usually Schedule B.

  • Schedule C positions are those that are either key policy-determining positions or positions that involve a close personal relationship between the incumbent and key officials. The immediate supervisor of a Schedule C position must be a Presidential appointee, a Senior Executive Service appointee (career or noncareer) occupying a General position, or a Schedule C appointee. Examples of positions historically filled under this authority include Special Assistant, Staff Assistant, Speechwriter, and Strategic Planner. These examples are provided for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect final determinations of the incoming administration. Personnel in the excepted service who are subject to change at the discretion of a new Administration are commonly referred to as “Schedule C” officials. Most Schedule C positions are at the GS-15 level and below. No examinations are required and the agency appoints persons whom it determines to be qualified. Generally, the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and OPM must approve Schedule C appointments, to include reassignment and transfer to another department or agency, before the agency makes that appointment.                

Appointments made within the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System are also categorized as excepted service. Title 10 of the United States Code grants authority to the Secretary of Defense to develop, manage, evaluate, and modify a civilian intelligence personnel management system without regard to any other law relating to the number, classification, or compensation of personnel. These positions are graded by pay bands. A separate pay system is in place for Defense Intelligence Senior Level (DISL) and Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service (DISES).

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TYPES OF HIRING APPOINTMENTS

PRESIDENTIALLY-APPOINTED, SENATE CONFIRMED

PAS officials serve at the senior levels of the Department of Defense. They are nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and appointed by the President. Individuals filling PAS positions serve at the will of the President, who may ask them to resign or dismiss them at any time.  


Highly Qualified Experts

The “highly qualified expert (HQE)” appointing authority is unique to the DoD and within OSD, the Director of Administration, ODCMO is required to approve their appointment. HQEs are individuals who possess uncommon, special knowledge, skills, and experience in an occupational field, and judgment that is accorded authority and status by peers or the public. They have substantive experience and/or education, are often highly-credentialed, and have proven their ability in a particular field or fields. HQE appointees generally gain such expertise through experience in private industry or academia. Their expert knowledge or skills are generally not available within the DoD and are needed to satisfy an emerging and relatively shortterm, non-permanent requirement.


Appointments under this program are noncompetitive, but limited to critical occupations necessary to promote the Department’s national security mission. Individuals may be appointed from outside the civil service and uniformed services to positions with any work schedule (i.e., full-time, part-time, or intermittent) for up to five (5) years, with the possibility of a one-year extension.


Basic pay for an HQE typically will be in the range of GS-15/01 to the statutory maximum of Executive Level IV, plus locality-based comparability pay. However, the total amount of pay, including locality, may not exceed Level III of the Executive Schedule.


THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE

The SES consists of men and women, noncareer and career officials, charged with leading the continuing transformation of Government. SES officials are neither excepted nor competitive service appointments. SES appointees typically support PAS officials with the implementation of current administration policies.

The SES was established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 as an Executive Branch personnel system. SES members serve in the key positions, just below the top Presidential appointees, and are the major link between senior officials and the rest of the Federal workforce. The two types of SES positions are General, which can be filled by any type of appointment, and Career Reserved, which can be filled only by a career appointment.


The following types of appointments may be made in the SES:


  • Career Appointments have no time limitation and provide certain job protections and benefits not conferred by non-career and limited appointments. Initial career appointments must meet competitive SES merit staffing provisions at the time of selection. Following selection by the agency, the individual’s executive core qualifications must be approved by a Qualifications Review Board administered by the OPM before the career appointment can be made.

  • Limited Term Appointments are nonrenewable appointments, for a term of three years or less, to a General SES position whose duties will expire within a period not to exceed three years. The appointee does not acquire career SES status and serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

  • Limited Emergency Appointments are nonrenewable appointments, not to exceed 18 months, to a General SES position established to meet a bona fide, unanticipated, urgent need. The appointee does not acquire career SES status and serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

  • Noncareer Appointments require an OPM approved appointment authority. Appointments are to a General SES position that, generally, is of a top policy determining character, who shares with Presidential appointees the advocacy of current administration policies. They can be made without regard to competitive requirements. Agencies may also set the pay level of the appointee.

The White House Office of Presidential Personnel and OPM must approve each non-career appointment before the agency makes that appointment. This applies to initial appointments, reassignments, and transfers to another department or agency. The appointee does not acquire career SES status and serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

Agencies can terminate non-career appointments at any time with a one business-day notice. Non-career appointees removed from the Federal service have no right of appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).


Pay provisions for each designation are best found online since they change with some frequency and can be seen at http://www.opm.gov/oca/12tables/indexSES.asp.


MORATORIUM ON ACTIONS AFFECTING CAREER SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE APPOINTEES

The law prohibits the involuntary reassignment or removal of a career SES appointee during the probationary period, or for performance reasons after the completion of the probationary period, within 120 days after either of the following:


  • The appointment of the head of the agency.

  • The appointment in the agency of the career appointee’s most immediate supervisor who is a non-career appointee and has the authority to make an initial appraisal of the career appointee’s performance, or the authority to remove the career appointee.

An appointee may voluntarily waive the moratorium for reassignment, but the waiver must be in writing and must be retained temporarily in the official personnel folder.


THE GENERAL SCHEDULE

The General Schedule (GS) is the name used to describe a pay scale utilized by the majority of whitecollar personnel in the Federal civil service. The GS was enacted into law by the Classification Act of 1949, which replaced a similar act of the same name enacted in 1923. The GS is intended to keep Federal salaries equitable among various occupations including professional, technical, administrative, and clerical positions, while the Wage Grade (WG) Schedule encompasses most Federal blue-collar workers. Schedule C appointments fall under the GS Schedule.


The OPM administers the GS pay schedule on behalf of all Federal agencies, although changes to the GS are normally authorized by the President (via Executive Order) or by Congress (via legislation). The President usually directs annual across-the-board pay adjustments at the beginning of a calendar year after Congress has passed the annual appropriations legislation for the Federal Government. Most positions in the competitive service are paid according to the GS. In addition, many positions in the Excepted service use the GS as a basis for setting pay rates.


For information about GS pay tables, please visit http://www.opm.gov/oca/12tables/index.asp.

 

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BENEFITS COVERAGE AND ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Unless excluded by statute or regulation, Federal personnel may be able to enroll in health, dental, vision and life insurance, participate in the Thrift Savings Plan and flexible spending accounts. In addition, they may apply for long-term care insurance.

All Presidential appointees and non-career SES officials are subject to both Social Security deductions and retirement deductions.


A list of human resources points of contact and websites for additional information can be accessed by individuals holding a valid DoD Common Access Card at https://customerresources.whs.mil/HRD/.



HEALTH BENEFITS PLANS AND PROGRAMS

HEALTH INSURANCE

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program can help your family meet your health care needs. FEHB allows Federal personnel, retirees, and their families to enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country. You can choose from Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health savings/reimbursable accounts, lower premiums, Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live (or sometimes if you work) within the area serviced by the plan.


All Federal appointees, except those excluded by law or regulations, are given the opportunity to enroll in the FEHB Program upon their appointment to the Federal Service. Most newly appointed Federal personnel have 60 days from the date of appointment to elect and complete a Health Benefits Registration Form (SF Form 2809). This form should be completed and submitted even if the employee decides not to enroll. If an employee does not enroll within the 60-day period, another opportunity to enroll does not occur until the annual Federal Benefits Open Season in November and December or the occurrence of an event that permits enrollment (e.g., change in marital or family status, the employee moving out of the geographical area).


Insurance coverage stops when the employee is separated from the Federal service (other than by retirement) or there is any other change in employment that results in the employee’s ineligibility, excluding continuation-of-benefits situations or twelve months of continuous non-payment have elapsed.


Information on brochures, details of a plan’s benefits, limits, exclusions, and definitions can be obtained from the WHS Human Resources Directorate, Benefits and Work-Life Division via email at www.benefits@mail.mil; or at http://opm.gov/insure/health/index.asp.


FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS

New personnel can elect to participate in the Flexible Spending Accounts Program (FSAFEDS). New and newly eligible personnel have 60 days after their entry on duty to enroll in this program. Eligible personnel may also enroll in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for the following year each year at the same time during the FEHB Open Season. FSAFEDS offers three different FSAs:


  • A Health Care Flexible Spending Account, which pays for qualified medical expenses for you and all eligible family members if you are not covered or reimbursed by an FEHB plan or any other type of insurance. Insurance premiums, including premiums for long-term care insurance are not qualified medical expenses.

  • A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, which pays for childcare or adult dependent care expenses that are necessary to allow you, as the enrolled employee, and your spouse (if married) to work, look for work, or attend school full-time.

  • A Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account is designed to pay eligible dental and vision expenses (only) for personnel enrolled in or covered by High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account.

For further information, call 1-877-372-3337 or visit http://www.FSAFEDS.com.


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FEDERAL EMPLOYEE DENTAL AND VISION INSURANCE PROGRAM

Dental and vision benefits are available to eligible Federal personnel, retirees, and their eligible family members through the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) on an enrolleepay- all basis.


DENTAL BENEFITS

Eligible personnel and annuitants can choose among four nationwide and three regional dental plans. This program allows dental insurance to be purchased on a group basis, which means that premiums are competitive and there are no pre-existing-condition limitations. Premiums for enrolled Federal and postal personnel are withheld from salary on a pre-tax basis. Nationwide plans also offer international coverage.


New and newly eligible personnel may enroll within the 60 days after they become eligible. Others may enroll during the annual Federal Benefits Open Season in November and December. Personnel must be eligible for the FEHB Program in order to be eligible to enroll in the FEDVIP. It does not matter if they are actually enrolled in FEHB—eligibility is the key.

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VISION BENEFITS

Eligible personnel and annuitants can choose among three nationwide vision plans. Nationwide plans also offer international coverage. Vision benefits are available to eligible Federal and postal personnel, retirees, and their eligible family members on an enrollee-pay-all basis. This program allows vision insurance to be purchased on a group basis, which means premiums are competitive and there are no limits on pre-existing conditions. Premiums for enrolled Federal and postal personnel are withheld from salary on a pre-tax basis.


New and newly eligible personnel may enroll within the 60 days after they become eligible. Others may enroll during the annual Federal Benefits Open Season in November and December.


For enrollment/premium questions regarding vision insurance, please contact BENEFEDS at 1-877-888-3337. 

To enroll in FEDVIP, please visit http://www.BENEFEDS.com

Additional information is available at http://www.opm.gov/insure/vision/index.asp.


LIFE INSURANCE

Nearly all permanent Federal personnel are eligible to participate in the Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program, the largest group life insurance program in the world. It covers personnel, retirees, and family members and is a voluntary term life insurance, which an employee may cancel at any time. Because it is group term life insurance, FEGLI does not build up any cash value or paid-up value.


In most cases, if you are a new Federal employee, you are automatically covered by basic life insurance and your payroll office deducts premiums from your paycheck unless you waive the coverage. In addition to the basic coverage, there are three forms of optional insurance you can elect. You must have basic coverage in order to elect any of the options. Unlike basic insurance, enrollment in optional insurance is not automatic— you must take action to elect the options.


The cost of basic insurance is shared between you and the Government. You pay 2/3 of the total cost and the Government pays 1/3. Your age does not affect the cost of basic coverage. In the case of optional coverage, you pay the full cost, and the cost does depend on your age.


A new Federal employee has 60 days from the date of appointment to complete a Life Insurance Election Form, SF 2817, and select optional insurance. Until the employee completes the SF 2817, he or she will automatically be enrolled for basic life insurance and withholdings will be made from the employee’s pay. If the employee does not return the SF 2817, the same automatic enrollment and withholding for basic coverage will continue.


Additional information and assistance with FEGLI can be obtained from WHS Human Resources Directorate, Benefits and Work-Life Division at email address whs.benefits@mail.mil and at http://www.opm.gov/insure/life/index.asp.


LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE

The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) provides long-term care insurance to help pay the costs of care when enrollees need help with activities they perform every day or have a severe cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease. Most Federal and U.S. Postal Service personnel and annuitants, active and retired members of the uniformed services, and their qualified relatives are eligible to apply for insurance coverage under the FLTCIP.

Most personnel must be eligible for the FEHB Program in order to apply for coverage under the FLTCIP. It does not matter if they are actually enrolled in FEHB—eligibility is the key. Annuitants do not have to be eligible or enrolled in the FEHB Program to qualify for coverage in FLTCIP. Certain medical conditions, or combinations of conditions, will prevent some people from being approved for coverage. You must apply to find out if you are eligible to enroll.

For more information about FLTCIP, please contact Long Term Care Partners at 800-582-3337 or visit the website at http://www.ltcfeds.com. Additional information can be found at http://www.opm.gov/insure/ltc/ index.asp.

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COMPENSATION AND PAY

ANNUAL LEAVE

PAS appointees are not in a leave system. However, PAS appointees are permitted to take leave from their duties, without limitation, subject to the approval of their supervisor.

Individuals within SES, SL/ST, and equivalent positions (e.g., DISES, DISL, and HQE positions) are eligible to receive annual leave at the rate of one day (8 hours) for each full biweekly pay period. The maximum accumulation of leave for SES, SL, and ST personnel is 720 hours. However, the maximum amount of leave that may be accumulated and carried forward from one leave year to the next for HQE personnel is 240 hours.

Individuals serving in Schedule C positions earn annual leave in the same manner and at the same rates as GS personnel. The amount of leave earned generally depends on the length of service, as shown in the following schedule:

  • Less than 3 years creditable service: 4 hours per pay period, 13 days per year

  • 3 to less than 15 years creditable service: 6 hours per pay period, 20 days per year

  • 15 or more years of creditable service: 8 hours per pay period, 26 days per year

For individuals serving in Schedule C positions, the maximum amount of leave that may be accumulated and carried forward from one leave year to the next is 240 hours. Current accrued annual leave in excess of the allowed maximum is forfeited if not used before the end of the leave year.


SICK LEAVE

PAS appointees are not in a leave system. However, PAS appointees are permitted to take sick leave without limitation, subject to the approval of the agency head. Individuals serving in SES, SL/ST, Schedule C, and equivalent positions (e.g., DISES, DISL and HQE positions) earn 13 days of sick leave per year (accrued leave is 4 hours per pay period), which may accumulated without limitation.

For more information on leave, etc. see references listed at Appendix D.


LEAVE AND EARNINGS STATEMENT

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) manages a web-based system, MyPay, which delivers pay information and lets you process pay-related transactions in a timely, safe, and secure fashion. The Internet-based system reduces the risks of identity theft associated with postal delivery by allowing members to access electronic Wage and Tax Statement (W-2), Leave and Earning Statement (LES), and other financial information. Please contact your Administrative Officer for more information.

DFAS will automatically mail to personnel a MyPay temporary PIN within approximately two to three weeks of their date of hire. In the event that an employee does not receive a temporary PIN within this time period, he or she may request a PIN by accessing https://mypay.dfas.mil.


THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN

All Federal personnel covered under a retirement system identified below under “Retirement Systems Information” are eligible to participate in the TSP, which is a tax-deferred savings plan similar to a 401K or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The 2016 annual maximum dollar amount allowed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was $18,000. This amount may change yearly as the IRS sets new maximum allowable dollar amounts.

If you are age 50 or older, you are eligible to make an additional $6,000 to “catch-up” contribution for 2016. To be eligible for the “catch-up” contribution, you must be contributing the maximum amount ($18,000) that will result in your reaching the IRS elective deferral limit by the end of 2016.

Nothing in this handbook should be deemed as tax advice, and you should consult with your personal tax adviser with respect to specific tax matters.

For more information about TSP, please see http://www.tsp.gov.

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COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN PROGRAM

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, conducted domestically and overseas raising millions of dollars each year. CFC is the only authorized solicitation for charitable giving among all Federal employees. The CFC promotes and supports philanthropy through an employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective program.

Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal, and military donors during the CFC Open Season (September 1st to December 15th) support more than 20,000 eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. Charities supported through the CFC range from nascent community groups to large, well-known charities.

For more information on CFC or a copy of the current authorized charity list, contact the WHS Corporate Communications Office at 703-697-7978.


RETIREMENT SYSTEMS INFORMATION

The Federal Government has three distinct retirement systems:


THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT SYSTEM

The Civil Service Retirement Act, which became effective on August 1, 1920, established a retirement system for certain Federal personnel. It was replaced by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) for Federal personnel who first entered covered service on and after January 1, 1987.


LEAVE AND EARNINGS STATEMENT

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) manages a web-based system, MyPay, which delivers pay information and lets you process pay-related transactions in a timely, safe, and secure fashion. The Internet-based system reduces the risks of identity theft associated with postal delivery by allowing members to access electronic Wage and Tax Statement (W-2), Leave and Earning Statement (LES), and other financial information. Please contact your Administrative Officer for more information.

DFAS will automatically mail to personnel a MyPay temporary PIN within approximately two to three weeks of their date of hire. In the event that an employee does not receive a temporary PIN within this time period, he or she may request a PIN by accessing https://mypay.dfas.mil.


THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN

All Federal personnel covered under a retirement system identified below under “Retirement Systems Information” are eligible to participate in the TSP, which is a tax-deferred savings plan similar to a 401K or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The 2016 annual maximum dollar amount allowed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was $18,000. This amount may change yearly as the IRS sets new maximum allowable dollar amounts.

If you are age 50 or older, you are eligible to make an additional $6,000 to “catch-up” contribution for 2016. To be eligible for the “catch-up” contribution, you must be contributing the maximum amount ($18,000) that will result in your reaching the IRS elective deferral limit by the end of 2016.

Nothing in this handbook should be deemed as tax advice, and you should consult with your personal tax adviser with respect to specific tax matters.

For more information about TSP, please see http://www.tsp.gov.


COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN PROGRAM

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, conducted domestically and overseas raising millions of dollars each year. CFC is the only authorized solicitation for charitable giving among all Federal employees. The CFC promotes and supports philanthropy through an employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective program.

Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal, and military donors during the CFC Open Season (September 1st to December 15th) support more than 20,000 eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. Charities supported through the CFC range from nascent community groups to large, well-known charities.

For more information on CFC or a copy of the current authorized charity list, contact the WHS Corporate Communications Office at 703-697-7978.


RETIREMENT SYSTEMS INFORMATION

The Federal Government has three distinct retirement systems:


THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT SYSTEM

The Civil Service Retirement Act, which became effective on August 1, 1920, established a retirement system for certain Federal personnel. It was replaced by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) for Federal personnel who first entered covered service on and after January 1, 1987.

The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) is a defined benefit, contributory retirement system. Personnel share in the expense of the annuities to which they become entitled. CSRS-covered personnel contribute 7, 7.5, or 8% of their pay to CSRS, generally pay no Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability (OASDI) tax, and must pay the Medicare tax (currently 1.45% of pay). The employing agency matches the employee’s CSRS contributions. CSRS personnel may increase their earned annuity by contributing up to 10% of the basic pay for their creditable service to a voluntary contribution account.

Personnel may also contribute a portion of pay to the TSP, discussed below. There is no Government contribution, but the employee contributions are tax-deferred.

For more information on CSRS retirement benefits, please see: http://www.opm.gov/retire/pre/csrs/index.asp.

For more information about TSP, see http://www.tsp.gov.

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THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT SYSTEM WITH SOCIAL SECURITY OFFSET

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) applies to most new hires, and personnel rehired into Federal service after a break in CSRS coverage of more than one year, after December 31, 1983. The Social Security Amendment of 1983 also extended mandatory Social Security coverage to certain senior officials including PAS and non-career or political SES officials. Some personnel were placed in an interim retirement plan that provided for full Social Security deductions from pay and reduced CSRS deductions. This was the precursor of the Civil Service Retirement System with Social Security Offset, known as the CSRS Offset Plan.

The 1986 legislation that created FERS also created the CSRS Office Plan. Typically, CSRS Offset retirement applies to personnel who had a break in service that exceeded one year and ended after 1983, and had 5 years of creditable civilian service as of January 1, 1987. Other categories of personnel covered by CSRS Offset coverage included PAS and non-career or political SES officials. Because each employee’s circumstances and Federal employment history are different, a retirement coverage determination must be made on an individual basis.

Individuals covered under CSRS Offset are also covered by CSRS and Social Security. Personnel earn retirement credits under the CSRS formula and have the portability of Social Security coverage, adding to any Social Security benefits they may have already earned. Personnel pay Social Security taxes at the rate of 6.2 % of pay and a reduced CSRS contribution at the rate of .80% of pay. Social Security tax stops when personnel covered by CSRS Offset earn more than the maximum Social Security wage base and their CSRS deductions increase to the full CSRS rate of 7% of pay for the remainder of the tax year.

Personnel may also contribute a portion of pay to the TSP. There is no government contribution, but the employee contributions are tax-deferred.

For more information on CSRS Offset retirement benefits, please see http://www.opm.gov/retire/pre/csrs/index.asp.

For more information about TSP, see the Compensation and Pay section of this Handbook or go to http://www.tsp.gov.


THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM

Since becoming effective on January 1, 1987, civilian personnel new to Federal service are covered by FERS. The FERS retirement plan provides benefits from three difference sources: a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security and the TSP. Social Security and the TSP can go with the employee to his or her next job if he or she leaves the Federal Government before retirement. Employee and agency contributions to the Basic Benefit Plan and Social Security are made through payroll deduction each pay period. Upon retirement from Federal service, employees meeting eligibility requirements will receive annuity payments each month for the rest of his or her life.

The TSP is an account that the employing agency automatically sets up for qualifying employees. Each pay period the employing agency deposits into the employee’s account an amount equal to 1% of the basic amount earned for the pay period. Personnel may also make their own contributions to their TSP account. The agency will match the employees TSP contribution up to 5%. The TSP is administered by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

For more information on FERS retirement benefits, see http://www.opm.gov/retire/pre/fers/index.asp.

Note for Career Members of the SES Who Move to a PAS Position: The Social Security Amendments of 1983 specifically require mandatory Social Security coverage for both PAS and non-career or political SES officials. Therefore, all of these personnel will be placed in either CSRS Offset or FERS as appropriate.

Since each employee’s circumstances and Federal employment history are different, a retirement coverage determination must be made on an individual basis. Generally speaking, if an employee has more than five years of creditable civilian service, or comes from a position covered under the CSRS, the retirement coverage will be CSRS Offset. If an employee has fewer than five years of creditable civilian service, the retirement coverage will be FERS.

Social Security Coverage: All PAS and non-career SES officials are subject to Social Security deductions, in addition to retirement deductions.

Survivor Benefits

Under CSRS or CSRS Offset, if the employee dies in Federal service and has completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service, the surviving spouse and dependent children will be eligible for an annuity.

Under FERS, the deceased employee must have completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service for the survivor to be eligible for the Basic Employee Death Benefit (the amount of which is calculated annually) plus 50% of the employee’s final salary (or the employee’s highest average salary of any three consecutive years during credited civilian service if that is higher). If the deceased employee had 10 years or more of creditable service, there is an annuity in addition to the basic employee death benefit.

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DRUG-FREE FEDERAL WORKPLACE PROGRAM

Most DoD positions, the exception being some intermittent expert and consultant positions, are designated as Special-Sensitive, Critical-Sensitive, or Noncritical-Sensitive and as such “testing-designated positions” (TDP) subject to random testing. An employee selected for random testing, and the individual’s first level supervisor, will be notified the same day the test is scheduled, preferably within two hours of the scheduled testing.

Random testing cannot be canceled. In rare cases, an employee may be deferred from random testing if the first and second-line supervisors concur that a compelling need necessitates deferral. In cases where random drug testing is deferred, the employee will be subject to an unannounced test within 60 days of the deferral.

Other kinds of drug testing that are part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OCJCS) Drug Testing Program include voluntary or required reasonable suspicion testing, accident or unsafe practice testing, and follow-up testing. OSD/OCJCS civilian personnel will be tested for five types of drugs: Cocaine, Cannabis (Marijuana), Amphetamines, Opiates, and Phencyclidine (PCP).

Websites for additional information on the WHS Drug Testing Program may be found at Appendix D.

Alcohol

Personnel are prohibited from using alcohol other than in accordance with appropriate laws, regulations, and instructions. Alcohol abuse is incompatible with the Pentagon’s maintenance of high standards of performance, emphasis on mission accomplishment, and focus on readiness. Alcohol abusers shall be provided counseling and referred for treatment or rehabilitation. Individuals refusing counseling treatment and successful completion of the rehabilitation program shall be subject to the full range of disciplinary or adverse actions, which includes appropriate removal in accordance with applicable policies and regulations.

AI 17, “Civilian Employee Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Testing and Control Program,” can be found online at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/a017p.pdf.

The Employee Assistance Program and Pentagon Referral Service offer a variety of free confidential counseling services to civilian personnel and their dependents. For more information, please see Welcome to the Pentagon or call 571-372-3964.


EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY PROGRAMS

The mission of the Office Equal Employment Opportunity Programs (EEOP) is to foster an inclusive and respectful workplace environment that allows all employees to succeed and support the agency’s mission. EEOP services include sensing sessions, climate surveys, and impact analysis. The EEOP also conducts diversity and EEO training for all personnel regarding the Agency’s legal responsibilities surrounding discrimination and harassment; advises managers, employees, and applicants of their rights and responsibilities; and may assist in the resolution of complaints. To assist in accomplishing the agency’s strategic goals and objectives, the EEOP Office administers several programs identified below:

Civilian EEO Complaint Processing

Employees, former employees, and applicants who believe they have been discriminated against based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment, pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, age (40 or older), disability (mental or physical), genetic information or reprisal (for participating in protected EEO activity) must contact the EEOP within 45 calendar days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act occurred or within 45 days of the effective date of an alleged discriminatory personnel action.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Program: The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provides mediation services to resolve EEO and non-EEO workplace disputes.

Military Equal Opportunity: EEOP can provide guidance to military members assigned to organizations serviced by WHS about their concerns. Service members must file complaints with their Service’s Equal Opportunity Office.

For additional information, contact: http://www.whs.mil/EEOP or 571-372-0832.





Contact Information:
Telephone: 703-692-5121
E-mail: WHS.2017Transition@mail.mil

 

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